CROSS RIVER, N.Y. -- John Jay High School musicians were recently treated to a special concert and workshop by Bassam Saba and April Centrone.
Saba, of Lebanon, is a multi-instrumentalist, educator and authority on Arabic music who has performed with many well-known Arab, Western classical and pop icons, including Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Alicia Keys, Santana, Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones.
Centrone, who is originally from New York, is a performer, teacher and music therapist who has lived in Lebanon since 2013. For two years, she has been principal drummer and percussionist of Ziad Rahbani’s jazz band and large ensemble, performing with Lebanese artists. In addition, she leads a music education and therapy project, Juthoor or Project Roots Lebanon, which serves youths in refugee camps and underprivileged zones.
The two artists performed and discussed their music during their visit with about 100 John Jay students. Later, they met with a group of about 30 students for a more intimate workshop. Those students brought their instruments and learned to play a piece of Arabic music.
Centrone and Saba guided the students through the piece’s unfamiliar scale and ornamentation.